01 Aug

Daily Watch – Nigeria needs another 45k ATMs, FG settles construction companies 

  • Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says the FG has paid 70 construction companies the sum of ₦63.12 billion for work done in Q1 2016, prompting various construction firms to move back to site, and recalling up to 5,000 workers who had been laid off. Fashola, in a speech at the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Forum in London, told his audience that past governments did not do much to revamp the country’s infrastructure.
  • To increase the volume of American dollars in the market and stabilise the naira, the CBN may begin to enforce a directive to compel banks to sell foreign currency proceeds of international money transfers to BDCs, according to reports. In a July 22 circular to the banks, titled: “Sales of foreign currency proceeds of international money transfers to BDCs”, the regulator said the policy shift was intended to ensure the stability of the exchange rate and boost participation of all critical stakeholders in the forex market. Banks are yet to comply with the directive nearly two weeks after the circular was issued. The naira closed on Friday at ₦375 per USD in the parallel market, and ₦330 to the dollar at the interbank market. The naira has lost over 35 percent of its value since January.
  • Banks urgently need to deploy 45,000 additional ATMs across the country if they are to stem a wave of financial crimes associated with ATM usage, experts at the Computer Warehouse Group have said. CWG explained that the CBN’s national ATM requirement pegged at 60,000, had only been met by about 15,000 units, leading to congestion and fraud at key points where they were available.
  • Nigerian banks are likely to face more challenges as interest rates continue to rise, Fitch has said. The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee increased the interest rate from 12 percent to 14 percent to curb inflation and strengthen the naira. The Monetary Policy Rate, which hovered around six percent from 2001 to 2011, has risen steeply. In a statement on Friday, Fitch said, “Rising rates are likely to put additional pressure on banks’ asset quality. Almost all lending is extended at floating rates and banks should be able to reprice their loans quite quickly but borrowers will face more difficulties in servicing their debts.”